I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Youth Promise Act: Contact Congress!

From the ACLU's Blog of Rights

Congress – Finally Getting Smart on Crime

Posted by Ian Thompson, Washington Legislative Office
Dec 2nd, 2009 at 3:16pm

Earlier this morning, the House Judiciary Committee, on a vote of 17-14, sent the Youth PROMISE Act onto the House of Representatives for a vote in the near future by the full chamber! It has taken several years of hard work and determined advocacy to get us to this important victory, which really marks a turning point in how Congress addresses issues of crime, youth violence and gang activity.

This legislation advances a new, forward-looking, “smart on crime” approach to confronting these issues by focusing resources on cost-effective, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies rather than the usual mix of longer sentences and more prison beds. For example, rather than waiting until after a crime or violent act has occurred, the Youth PROMISE Act will empower communities to work in positive ways with at-risk young people. Additionally, the legislation was actually strengthened during today’s mark-up by ensuring that these prevention and intervention strategies also take girls into account, whose needs are often ignored by the justice system. The legislation’s focus on front-end prevention strategies will help to prevent both boys and girls from falling into a cycle of violence and incarceration.

As a testament to just how much support this type of approach is garnering in Congress, 232 bipartisan members are currently cosponsors of the legislation. For those Congress wonks out there, that’s over half of the entire House of Representatives (435). While it may seem like this bill is a legislative slam-dunk (it certainly should be), today’s vote, and the level of opposition from the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, shows that we cannot let up the pressure. Please continue to email and contact your members of Congress and let them know that you support policies like the Youth PROMISE Act that are smart on crime and good investments in our future.

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